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  1. #1
    Sinner's Swing!
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    12.14.17 @ 04:55 PM
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    Default To the pros here, why isn't there more music?

    This is a huge question in my mind and while I'm not only talking about Van Halen I'll put it here unless it needs to be moved.

    Ok, here's my question. Why the hell is there so little actual music recorded by professional songwriters/bands? Think about this, these are professional musicians, it's what they theoretically do all day when other people are sitting in offices and such. Even in the "good old days" a band would release maybe 30-40 minutes of music a year, maybe every two years. If you can sort of erase what we're used to and stand back and think about it even that just seems insanely small. You'd think that any band that exists for 40-50 years as a lot of rock bands have now would literally have thousands of songs each.

    Every artist I see interviewed, from the guys in Rush to Van Halen to Judas Priest to every other band I like will constantly harp on the fact that the real satisfaction and joy comes from writing and creating. So where is it all? Whenever I see stories about the recording of an album often I'll read "Yeah, that song came together really quickly, in a couple days" and even bands with lengthy studio schedules will take maybe several weeks to two or three months at most to make an album. And that's with the luxury of time and money that comes from already being successful, many older classic albums were made in a week. So what is the problem? If that's the lifeblood of a band and where the satisfaction comes from why do they spend maybe a few weeks every 4 or 5 or more years actually doing it? Even if you wanted to be cynical and say they don't make as much money wouldn't that still be where the fun actually is?

    It seems to me that someone like Eddie could come up with 40 minutes of interesting music in a weekend if he wanted to. How much could he do in a 40 hour work week? Now multiply that times 52 weeks times many, many years in between albums. What the hell?

    Again, I'm really asking this about ALL bands, not just Van Halen. It's kind of astonishing to me really how it works. Basically, if you can get maybe 5 or 6 songs in regular rotation on the radio you can make a living for decades off just that 25 minutes of music. You can make a career out of the same amount of material as a single sitcom episode. Of course I'm not saying it's easy, otherwise everybody would do it, I'm just observing that that's how it is and it's hard to believe.

    I guess I'm just frustrated because as an addicted music fan it's kind of amazing and disappointing how little there is to listen to from any particular band. It's not that way with everyone, Dolly Parton has written 3000 or more songs, Frank Zappa released 62 albums in his life and 37 more posthumously. Doesn't it seem like that should be more of the norm for people who make music professionally for 40 or more years?

    I've just been thinking about this more with all the bands like KISS and Van Halen and AC/DC and others that fill arenas to the current day. They all talk about the importance of making music, but look at some of these examples in the last quarter century or so:

    Since 1991, that's 23 years, Van Halen has made 3 albums, one of which is mostly music from the 70s writing sessions anyway. Plus another 6 new songs, so another half an album, on compilations. Without looking up specifics I'd say on average they're about 50 minutes long. So that's about 175 minutes of music in 23 years. That's about 7 and a half minutes of music a year. For people who do it for a living and claim it's the be all end all to their profession.

    Since 1992 KISS has released 4 albums.

    Since 1990, AC/DC has released 3 albums and they're one of the biggest rock bands in the world.

    Since 1991 Metallica has released 4 albums.

    Between 1974 and 1978 Rush released 6 studio albums and a double live album. That 5 year span is now what they average between albums.

    And so on. I just don't get it. Between 1963 and 1970 the Beatles released 23 albums.


    Eddie has his own professional studio, and has an entire band, guitar keyboard, bass and drums, just within his family. You'd think every damn week he'd say "Here you go, here's a few songs we recorded this weekend, there'll be more next week, and the week after that..." You'd think there'd be 100 new songs a year.

    I just can't reconcile averaging 7 1/2 minutes of music a year with quotes from Eddie like "We're musicians. We make music for a living. It's that simple. Nothing else matters."

    Sorry for the long post. I'm genuinely interested in hearing what the problem is from those that actually make music.

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk CaboChris's Avatar
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    Default

    Chefs work in a kitchen all day and enjoy creating new dishes and that's very stimulating to them. They come home and open a can of tuna and make sandwiches. You know why? Life gets in the way.

    Same principle.

    They like to say they're all about the music and being artists, but It's all bullshit imo. They have to say things like that in order to justify that they really don't have to do shit in life. Are there some hardcore artists that do nothing but compose music 7 days a week? Sure, but if you're EVH, all you're really doing is noodling, unless you're under contract to produce something.

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk
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    I think the simple answer is: bands dont make money from releasing albums like they did in the past.

    They make it now from touring.

    If Kiss made more $$$$$ from recording, we'd have 2 new albums a year lol

  4. #4
    Sinner's Swing!
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    12.14.17 @ 04:55 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenpaw View Post
    I think the simple answer is: bands dont make money from releasing albums like they did in the past.

    They make it now from touring.

    If Kiss made more $$$$$ from recording, we'd have 2 new albums a year lol
    Well, I understand that and I sort of allowed for that in my post and of course that matters, but hell, many of them go many years between touring as well, and even when albums used to sell they'd release 30-40 minutes of music every 2 or 3 years. It just seems paltry. And even if Eddie (or the other artists) only cared about maximizing money he'd release more live products and archive stuff I would think.

    Think of even a professional at the less popular level. Eric Johnson is insanely creative, but he certainly doesn't play arenas and get rich, most regular people don't even know who he is. Since 1990 he's released only 4 studio albums. And it's certainly not because he's not getting rich from selling albums like he used to like the big bands.

  5. #5
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    What do these fuckers do with themselves all the time? You can only slip the old lady the salami so many times in a day, week, month, and year. That leaves a lot of time to eat, sleep, exercise, and create music. Truth is, they've cashed in when necessary and they don't give a shit the rest of the time.

  6. #6
    Eruption
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    Clapton is retiring from touring this year and had mentioned that he will be back in the studio tinkering around quite a bit. BUT...he said not to expect too much of it to be actually recorded and released. He said he doesn't want to embarrass himself.

    I'll be this is the mentality of most older artists. They have a legacy to uphold as well as a bar they have set for themselves. If they don't reach that bar then they don't put anything out. 30-45 minutes of music a year when you are first starting out is just that. They are first starting out! They want to get out there and they have a record deal to saturate the market with their music and names. Especially if they're a hot new band! VH has the "luxury" now to put out music whenever they want. They proved that with ADKOT. 14 years between albums and they went to #2 on Billboard. Now, they sit and create and wait for the perfect time in their minds to put out another album. When THEY are satisfied with their product then they will release it. That's just what the older guys can do.
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    "I'm just a normal jerk who happens to make music. As long as my brain and fingers work, I'm cool." -Eddie Van Halen, 1996

  7. #7
    Baluchitherium noise next door's Avatar
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    The ANSWER is VERY simple: "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$"

    Since around 1988, EVH has had an average income of $4,000,000 a year
    Therefore the JOB of making music to survive is DONE

    There is literally NO reason to record or tour.

    NOW, having said that, Eddie wants to record and tour FOR FUN occasionally, but that's the ONLY reason now... FUN
    Last edited by noise next door; 08.25.14 at 03:50 PM.

  8. #8
    Sinner's Swing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by noise next door View Post
    The ANSWER is VERY simple: "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$"

    Since around 1988, EVH has had an average income of $4,000,000 a year
    Therefore the JOB of making music to survive is DONE

    There is literally NO reason to record or tour.

    NOW, having said that, Eddie wants to record and tour FOR FUN occasionally, but that's the ONLY reason now... FUN
    I appreciate everybody's responses and I know there's some truth to what you wrote. But if it's genuinely fun wouldn't that be even more reason to do it all the time once you're free to do it without the stress? And if Eddie has an income of 4 million a year why did they apparently have to tour in 2004 just to keep Alex afloat? Couldn't Eddie have given him however much Alex made on that tour without nearly killing Ed? I know Eddie and Dave evidently coexist just fine now but I really don't think several years ago Eddie just thought "Hey I know, I'll bet it would be fun to work with Dave again!" That's hard to believe. I don't know, it seems like on one hand I hear that Eddie is so rich, but then I hear that the band often does what it does because of the need for money. Something doesn't add up...

  9. #9
    5150 C Brown's Avatar
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    09.28.17 @ 10:23 AM
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    Default

    It's a pretty good question. It was easier to answer back in the days of the all-powerful record label. In those days, you released an album and toured behind it for a year. Rinse and repeat until the band fades from popularity or breaks up, usually the latter.

    My take would bet that despite what artists say in the press, making new music is mostly a drag, especially for older acts. You don't necessarily like your bandmates. It's impossible to compete with the past. Best case, your are good for a bunch of old dudes.

    That said, I'm surprised that veteran artists like VH don't release more music unconventionally. Why not record and release a handful of songs via the website each year? I don't need 11 songs and million dollar production. Heck, I'd take an .mp3 of rehearsal.
    ~Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.~

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdog View Post
    But if it's genuinely fun wouldn't that be even more reason to do it all the time once you're free to do it without the stress?
    Yes, fun is the reason why Sammy Hagar records and tours every year.

  11. #11
    On Fire
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    12.14.17 @ 09:10 PM
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    Wow. I'll agree that money may play a role, but...

    Not a single mention of the organic and perishable nature of the creative process? Not a single mention of art moving through the artist at its own pace?

    Ok.

  12. #12
    Sinner's Swing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by C Brown View Post
    It's a pretty good question. It was easier to answer back in the days of the all-powerful record label. In those days, you released an album and toured behind it for a year. Rinse and repeat until the band fades from popularity or breaks up, usually the latter.

    My take would bet that despite what artists say in the press, making new music is mostly a drag, especially for older acts. You don't necessarily like your bandmates. It's impossible to compete with the past. Best case, your are good for a bunch of old dudes.

    That said, I'm surprised that veteran artists like VH don't release more music unconventionally. Why not record and release a handful of songs via the website each year? I don't need 11 songs and million dollar production. Heck, I'd take an .mp3 of rehearsal.
    Yep, that's why I asked that above. Eddie has his own studio at his house (like a lot of guys do now) and just with his son and brother alone have all the instruments covered. Actually just Eddie and Alex alone have it all covered. I don't even see why it has to be only a handful of songs, why not dozens? How hard can it be when you can play that well and have nothing to do all day every day for years?

  13. #13
    Good Enough Pacfanweb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redfoot View Post
    What do these fuckers do with themselves all the time? You can only slip the old lady the salami so many times in a day, week, month, and year. That leaves a lot of time to eat, sleep, exercise, and create music. Truth is, they've cashed in when necessary and they don't give a shit the rest of the time.
    Yep.

    Nobody is "all about the music". The only bands that are "only about the music, man" are either the ones who never made it, or the ones who did make it and did so well that they can now tell the industry to go to hell and do whatever they want to.

    They ALL got in it for the money and chicks. Anyone who says different is a lying liar.

    And bands almost without fail make their best music when they have the record company pushing them to make a record, and making them use some pros (engineers, producers) to help them do it.
    Witness VH's success with WB/Landee/Templeman. They were banging out an album a year, if not more, touring, and it was their best work. The more and more they got control, the less they worked until they got total control and we got VH3.

    Dudes like Eddie are super creative, but they cannot handle also being "the boss". They NEED someone to crack the whip.
    I asked a ref if he could give me a technical foul for thinking bad things about him. He said, of course not. I said, well, I think you stink. And he gave me a technical. You can't trust em. -
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  14. #14
    Sinner's Swing!
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    12.14.17 @ 04:55 PM
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    I still just don't buy some of this.

    The idea that "bands only do it until they get rich and don't have to" doesn't seem to apply to most other people who create.

    For craps' sake, Steven Spielberg hasn't needed money in many decades and he's still directed 3 films since 2011 and is currently directing 2 more and he's 67 years old. Harrison Ford makes on average 1 or 2 movies a year the same as always and he's 72 and stinkin' rich. Steven King is still writing as much as ever.

    And besides, people like Eric Johnson certainly didn't get into the music business for money and girls, and he's also released 4 studio albums since 1990.

    I guess some of it just has to do with the fanbases only having an appetite for a tiny amount of music. For almost everyone except hardcores like us, most bands are defined by a handful of songs. Those songs have "branded" the band and more music simply dilutes that, even if it's still good. That's why classic rock radio only plays the same few songs over and over. I laugh when I hear stuff on classic rock radio like "Coming up next... Mountain" Why the fuck don't you just say "Mississippi Queen"? You know that's the only song they ever did according to radio.

    But for someone like me who is a music addict it just sucks. We end up with stuff like this below, I don't mean to pick on Judas Priest because AC/DC and Maiden and most other bands are the same way. The same few songs OVER AND OVER. But I can't blame them, that's evidently all the fans want to hear.

    This covers thirty freaking years and is just the last 5 songs of each tour. So yeah, I guess why make more music? This is all people will ever accept anyway....


    Defenders of the Faith tour:

    You've Got Another Thing Comin'
    Victim of Changes
    Living After Midnight
    The Green Manalishi
    Hell Bent for Leather


    Turbo tour:

    Victim of Changes
    The Green Manalishi
    Living After Midnight
    You've Got Another Thing Comin'
    Hell Bent for Leather


    Ram It Down tour:

    Victim of Changes
    The Green Manalishi
    Living After Midnight
    You've Got Another Thing Comin'
    Hell Bent for Leather


    Painkiller tour:

    Painkiller
    The Green Manalishi
    Breaking the Law
    Living After Midnight
    You've Got Another Thing Comin'


    Jugulator tour:

    The Green Manalishi
    Painkiller
    You've Got Another Thing Comin'
    Hell Bent for Leather
    Living After Midnight


    Demolition tour:

    Painkiller
    Electric Eye
    United
    Living After Midnight
    Hell Bent for Leather


    Angel of Retribution tour:

    The Green Manalishi
    Painkiller
    Hell Bent for Leather
    Living After Midnight
    You've Got Another Thing Comin'


    Nostradamus tour:

    Sinner
    Painkiller
    Hell Bent for Leather
    The Green Manalishi
    You've Got Another Thing Comin'


    British Steel 30 Anniversary tour:

    Hell Patrol
    Victim of Changes
    Freewheel Burning
    Diamonds & Rust
    You've Got Another Thing Comin'


    Epitaph tour:

    Painkiller
    Electric Eye
    Hell Bent for Leather
    You've Got Another Thing Comin'
    Living After Midnight

  15. #15
    Baluchitherium
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    It has nothing to do with money. These old, classic groups have built a musical legacy. Most of them are fifty, sixty, seventy years old now. The days of making a record every two years ended a long time ago. They paid their dues, made their mark ,and now it's time to enjoy what they sowed. Even if VH had a singer every of the 2000's, they wouldn't of made that many records. Probably woulda got one more record.
    They've earned the right to work at their own pace and take the time to enjoy life.

    We're lucky they're still interested in recording at all nowadays, really.

 

 

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